Customer pays £3,000 deposit, dealer adds £2,500 and the monthly payment is an easily-affordable £150 a month. The final payment of £5,750 will be less than the car is worth, leaving the buyer with a good part of the deposit towards the next car. Which, if he's been happy with the A-class, will almost certainly be another Mercedes. Or so the theory goes.
“Tell us something we don't know,” I can hear you say. Since the feature came out, I've had more colleagues and friends question me about that deal than anything else we've published in the last six months. “Can you really get an A-class for £150 a month?” I'm asked.
Now, Mercedes might not be making a whole load of cash on that deal, but if it brings in new custom and gets rid of the stocks of the old A-class while guaranteeing a supply of well-maintained, used cars for the future, you can see why it's interested.
This is the first time I can remember that a PCP deal has actually looked genuinely attractive to Joe Bloke and his family. Because, put simply, you get a posher car than you can afford for the price of a well-used Ford Focus. PCP is a good thing, so long as the price is right. I'll spend £150 a month on a car I might never own, but £300 is too much.
So the next challenge must be to make PCP work for used cars. The benefits would be that depreciation from three to six years is much less so monthly amounts and deposits could be even less. But the downside, of course is that most manufacturers wouldn't want a commitment to take six-year-old cars back into their main dealer network.
So, with the market moving upwards towards expensive and higher-spec cars, maybe the likes of Mercedes, BMW and Audi could pull it off. Mercedes are already in pole position with its network of Mercedes Direct dealers. Your move, guys.'